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09.10.2019 Feature Article

'Sex For Grades' Exposè -Margret Amoakohene Should Not Be On The Investigation Panel

'Sex For Grades' Exposè -Margret Amoakohene Should Not Be On The Investigation Panel
OCT 9, 2019 FEATURE ARTICLE

As a student of 'due process and investigation procedures', I find it unacceptable that, any person who has influence in any investigation, would speak to the merits of that investigation even before it's initialised. In the wake of the BBC exposè titled - 'sex for grades', there have been mixed reactions. Some people have attacked the integrity of the work, others have commended the work, and others are as of yet, still undecided.

Before dealing with the substance of this article, I'd like to briefly comment on the documentary itself. From a layman's point, I see the exposé as a feeler intended to test the pulse of the nation in regards to the subject of sexual harassment by lecherous lecturers in our various schools, and also, as a detonator, intended to detonate the longstanding silence of females, who have been abused by superiors, so that, they can come out to share their ordeals.

Indeed following the exposè, we've seen an eruption of accounts from many females in respect of the matter under contention. People have further called for investigations into 'sex for jobs, sex for promotions, etc' - thereby, giving a signal that, the canker is deep-rooted in our society and must be stemmed once and for all. That's why the exposè's silver lining would be that, it has afforded us as a nation, to discuss thoroughly, this problem so as to find a lasting solution to it.

One other point I want to briefly touch on, is the question of the appropriateness of the title of the exposè. Even though I don't work for the BBC, and can therefore not be in the position to defend them, I find the title most befitting. I have seen Manasseh propound theories as to how an investigator ought to go about investigating crime. His theory cannot hold because, clearly from the exposé, there're angles especially from the Nigerian angle, that suggest 'sex for grades'. The investigator is therefore at liberty, to choose any of the outcomes of the investigation, as a broad title even though the main body of the work may have variations. As to why Manasseh would limit everything to what transpired at Legon, is quite baffling. Hasn't the title evoked discussions about the issue of 'sex for grades' in our schools, on a national scale? This is exactly the intent of the exposè. So whereas a dimension of the exposè may be different from the headline, the so-called inappropriate headline, has got us talking about how to end the problem. Simplicita!

Readers can read more from my article https://mobile.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/features/A-brief-analysis-of-sex-for-grade-expos-by-BBC-vis-a-vis-undercover-Work-787338 for further analysis on the approach an investigator may adopt in order to arrive at his/her conclusions.

Now to the issue I have raised, Madam Amoakohene, appears to have been carried away by the pressure from the media to comment on the matter. I listened to her and to be fair to her, some of the headlines attributed to her, were slanted. To summarise the entire interview I listened to - she alluded that, the exposé contained no elements of 'sex for grades' however, she finds the conduct of the lecturers captured, a breach of their code of ethics.

The two statements are prejudicial to the investigations yet to be commenced. One, on what basis did she say the exposé didn't contain elements of 'sex for grades'? In the exposé, some students bore testimonies against the beleaguered lecturers as having abused them in the past. Now, per her premature conclusion, is she going to take account of these testimonies if those persons appeared before her committee to testify? I cringe to say, her comment may ward off potential witnesses as they may be compelled to think, her opinion is conclusive and represents that of the committee she leads. She has further dented the crux of the exposé with that comment, and so I wonder what questions her committee would seek to answer by the investigation.

Second, what evaluation methods did she use to conclude that, the lecturers breached their codes? Hasn't she pronounced them guilty even before trial? Her stance in public obviously would blight her fairness towards these beleaguered lecturers. In fact, the proper stance of the University, is at variance with her premature comments and conclusions. That's why she should have spoken generically about the matter and not rush to evaluate the substance of the matter before it's properly put in her domain.

Another issue which many have overlooked is the fact that, the BBC NEVER accused the two Ghanaian lecturers of indulging in 'sex for grades'. Per the questionnaires, which I have sighted, to the University of Ghana and the lecturers involved, they are being accused of sexual harassment as per the definition espoused by the University. And so the deliberate attempt to push the headlines in order to cloud what is substantively before the University on the two lecturers, is most absurd. Here again, Madam Amoakohene, has goofed big time by saying the footage didn't contain 'sex for grades'. Is that what is before the University or sexual harassment?

My advice to the BBC is that, they should raise a formal objection to Madam Magret Amoakohene's inclusion to committee. The students who wish to testify must also push for her to recuse herself. The BBC should not corporate with her committee because, it is clear from her commentary, that, her mind is made up. This may undoubtedly, have grave consequences on the outcome of the investigations. Same advice goes to the lecturers involved - Madam Amoakohene has hanged them before the commencement of trial.

Alhajj Suleman
Alhajj Suleman, © 2019

This author has authored 18 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: AlhajjSuleman

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